‘Nice guy’ burned in fiery explosion

A G.P. Vanier grad is recovering in an Edmonton hospital with third- and second-degree burns to his hands and face following a fire at the Horizon oilsands site near the Fort McKay First Nation.

A G.P. Vanier grad is recovering in an Edmonton hospital with third- and second-degree burns to his hands and face following a fire at the Horizon oilsands site near the Fort McKay First Nation.

Comox Valley resident Brett Forster, 20, was working on the Horizon Primary Upgrader in northern Alberta when a fire rocked the equipment Jan. 6, injuring five workers.

The Horizon site, about 750 kilometres northeast of Calgary, is owned by Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL).

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Forster’s cousin and family spokesperson Melanie Perkins. “He was beginning to train as a power engineer and was employed at CNRL for a month before the explosion.”

Perkins added her cousin, who was wearing coveralls that protected the rest of his body, was close to the explosion, which shot flames 480 feet into the air.

Forster was airlifted to the burn unit at the University of Alberta Hospital.

According to a press release from CNRL, the fire occurred at the cutting deck on coke drum 1B, one of four drums used on the site.

Forster graduated high school in 2009, and worked for the past two years at Quality Foods in Comox, said Perkins.

“He is one of the nicest guys you could ever know,” she added.

Family members flew to Edmonton last Friday, as Forster underwent surgery Monday and is receiving skin grafts to his hands. Perkins noted he is stable condition, surrounded by his family and girlfriend.

“His brave heart will help get through this difficult time,” she added.

Workers on the Horizon site returned to their normal shifts Jan. 7. Occupational Health and Safety and CNRL’s operations are working together to determine what caused the explosion.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two Comox Valley groups share annual Project Watershed award

Keep It Living Award given to Morrison Creek Streamkeepers and Comox Valley Land Trust

Game on! Outdoor pickleball season starts up in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Pickleball Association members Evie MacDonald and Donny Cruickshank (near court)… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

SPRING IN THE GARDEN: The fragrant, beautiful lilac is an asset to any garden

Ellen Presley Special to The Record I have been thinking a lot… Continue reading

Comox Valley Community Foundation announces second round of emergency funding

$57,400 in grants distributed to 12 local non-profits

Comox Valley business map offers information on local eateries, grocery stores and more

Search and click for hours and services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP told of alleged assault in Courtenay hours after the fact

Police only made aware of possible attack through social media posts

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Most Read